Today’s Fossil Friday is Mesohippus, which means “middle horse”. These now extinct creatures are the link between the eohippus type horses and the modern horses that we know today. Mesohippus lived between 37 and 32 million years ago in the woodlands of what is now North America. Their fossils are most commonly found in the badlands of South Dakota and other areas of the Midwest. They were only 6 hands tall (about 2 feet), which is significantly smaller than modern day horses. Mesohippus had three toes on its front feet while their predecessors had four; this was the beginning of the modern hoof we see on horses today. They also had a significantly larger brain than their predecessors, closer to the size of a modern horse’s brain. The mesohippus did not feed on grass like modern day horses, but on twigs and fruit which can be inferred from the size and shape of their teeth.
The Shops at Nature’s Art Village has two impressive mesohippus fossils, a foot and lower leg bone as well as an intact skull. To see these fossils and many more in the Ancient Fossil Shop, visit The Shops at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut.
Check back next week for another Fossil Friday!